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Cedar Rapids, IA, United States, 2006/01/02 - Ambient/Electronica Podcasting Pioneer Mark Rushton, along with bass player and atmospheritician Jon Harnish, take you on an aural and musical journey through Iowa's winter landscape..
Recently, a reporter from a newspaper asked ambient/electronica podcasting pioneer Mark Rushton via email about the possibility of writing a story on his music and spotlighting a podcast. The conversation morphed into a theme that the reporter came up with, which was: "What Does An Iowa Winter Sound Like?"
During the month of December in 2005, winter was relentless in Iowa. Nearly a foot of snow fell and residents dealt with temperatures as low as -19. Rushton commutes daily from his home in Cedar Rapids to his day job in Iowa City using state highways and county roads, and he wanted a way for others to be inspired by the beauty that he was seeing by driving through the rural winter landscape. Rushton hopes that the five pieces of music in his latest podcast at podcast.markrushton.com reflect what what he's been experiencing this winter.
The first track is "Advisory" - a electronica/drone piece Rushton completed in December 2005 in collaboration with Jon Harnish.
The second track is "Winter Wind Chimes" - another piece starting with atmospheric loops by Harnish. Rushton later chose to remix and layer the loops as well as add in samples of bass guitar and loops from a previous live performance at the Ambient Matyk Cafe in Cedar Rapids.
Continuing with the show's theme, "What Does An Iowa Winter Sound Like?", is "New Rules." Jon provided the basic loops and bass guitar, while Rushton abused the loops, mixed the sound, and added a field recording of birds from a rural location north of Cedar Rapids.
The fourth piece of music was made in early 2005 and is called "Minus Eleven" - it was initially created when the temps outside were actually minus eleven. It's a bit more of a rhythmic piece - think of spinning tires and idling car engines if you wish - and if you're not wearing headphones you might not fully appreciate what's going on. This 4 minute track is from Rushton's recent CD release, Hum And Drift.
Finally, to finish off the theme of "What Does An Iowa Winter Sound Like?" is a short piece of music by Rushton and Harnish called "Drift Higher" - it features atmospherics, orchestral bass, a heavily rendered recording of the turn signal sound inside Rushton's car, and a field recording of birds in the early spring time. While Iowa has a lot of birds who stay through the winter, their continued presence is something many look forward to after going through so many cold winter days and dark evenings.
Rushton also wanted to note the importance of a 1988 recording by David Sylvian and Holger Czukay called Plight (The Spiralling Of Winter Ghosts) from the CD "Plight and Premonition" for continued inspiration in this and other pieces of music he's produced.
Rushton's previous podcast, released at the end of November in 2005, received more than 3000 downloads worldwide in the first month of being available. That's more than double the number of downloads that his October podcast received. Apple's iTunes program is by far the largest way that people find his music.
Jon Harnish recently started a web site and podcast to feature his own music. The web site for Harnish is avantanomaly.com and an initial podcast was released in December of 2005.
As 2006 progresses, Rushton and Harnish plan to continue to release more music via podcasts, as well as to continue to record monthly at the Ambient Matyk Cafe in Cedar Rapids.